• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To What Extent Is The UK Democratic?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To What Extent Is The UK Democratic? A democratic country aims to have an accountable government that serve the best interests of the people it is governing. The UK is a liberal democracy which ensures that citizens should be able to influence governmental decisions made. But how far is the UK democratic? An element of Britain's governmental system is that there is no written constitution. This means that, theoretically, the government are free to pass any legislation as long as they have the majority in parliament which could be easily achieved if the party has a large majority of seats. This means there is no safeguard for laws that can be altered or new ones that could be created. This is very undemocratic as the government therefore have too much power. The government is also in possession of other powers such as the royal prerogative that allows the prime minister to go to war without consent from parliament. An example of where this was used was the Iraq war in 2005 which was heavily resented by a large majority of the public. ...read more.

Middle

Also, everyone over the age of 18 is allowed to vote apart from very special circumstances such as being in prison. However, the election system used (fast past the post) is undemocratic. This is due to the problems of over and under representation whereby the proportion of seats a party gains is not equivalent to the proportion of votes. An example of this was in 1983 when the Liberal Democrats gained 3.5% of the seats when they gained 25.4% of the votes. The system is also blamed for the apparent "two party state" which means that smaller parties are simply incapable of coming into power. It could also be argued that it is undemocratic for the government to be allowed to choose when the elections are as opposed to other democratic countries such as the USA where they are held every five years. A final argument is that votes do not have the same "weight" depending on the votes geographical location; in a safe seat area your vote will have little or no effect on the outcome whereas in a marginal area, your vote can be very influential. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the UK the government is fully accountable for its actions. Examples of this are "prime ministers question time" which is traditionally held every Wednesday. MP's are able to query decisions made and ask questions concerning government policies. This is democratic as it means the people have influence over the government if they can question decisions made as it prevents the government having too much power. It also means that the citizens can fully understand why the government has made certain decisions and can ensure that the government is acting in ways that meet the needs of the people. In conclusion, the UK fulfils all of the criteria necessary for a democracy. These criteria include a free and fair election system, freedom of information and rights and liberties for the citizens. However, some of the criteria are not completely fulfilled, such as the fair election system as it can be seen as undemocratic. Therefore the UK is mainly democratic but could be improved on some issues such as the election system and a written constitution to guarantee certain laws fundamentally. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United Kingdom section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

4 Stars - An effective essay overall. A clear, logical structure was deployed, a range of appropriate examples were used, and there was a clarity of expression evident. The argument was evaluated logically and efficiently using criteria, and was balanced and fair overall. In places the level of explanation and analysis could have been extended to consider a wider range of salient points.

Marked by teacher Dan Carter 10/09/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United Kingdom essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent is there a democratic deficit in the UK?

    4 star(s)

    The groups allow the strength of opinions to be expressed as oppose to simply counting the number of people supporting a view (as what happens in an election.) The groups also allow a wider range of opinions to be expressed which can be referred to as a positive democratic system,

  2. How Effectively Are Rights Protected In The UK?

    Conservative Home Secretary, Michael Howard was deemed to have acted Ultra Vires over prison sentencing. More recently, the Blair government were challenged by the Law Lords about the detention without trial of terrorism suspects. These incidents need to be put in both special as well as historical context.

  1. Is Britain an elective dictatorship?

    Referendums have also undermined the sovereignty of parliament. Referendums in the 1970s were first approved by parliament in the first instance via statue law, but the final decision was effectively taken out of its hands. Most of these problems are rooted in the fusion of the legislature and the executive, which has resulted in the dominance of the executive.

  2. To what extent is the UK a two-party system?

    This shows the influx in in support for the third party, being only 6% behind one of the big two parties and gaining seats in the ruling government. Despite this, however, Labour still secured over 100 more seats than the Lib Dems?which, perhaps, shows that there is still a two-party system in place in the UK.

  1. How democratic is the UK political system?

    It can lead to political stability which leads, in turn, to economic growth. However, the two-party systems have been criticized for downplaying fringe or extreme views, and putting a damper on debate within a nation.

  2. The British Constitution is no longer fit for purpose. Discuss.

    One of the main criticisms against uncodified constitutions is that in practice, it gives rise to the problem of ?elective dictatorship?, first coined by Lord Hailsham. It draws attentions to the simple facts that, once elected the government can more or less act as they see fit until they come up for re-election.

  1. From what extent does the UK suffer from a participation crisis?

    This has set back the UK?s democracy due to this decline in participation bought on by the medias pessimistic viewing and poor efforts of getting across important information to the public. However, other forms of participation are on the increase.

  2. The strengths of the UK constitution outweigh the weaknesses. Do you agree?

    This links in with another strength of the British constitution, the fact that it creates a more effective government: the absence of a written constitution means that government decisions that are backed by Parliament cannot be overturned by the judiciary.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work